Wednesday September 22, 2010

Voices from the Margins

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Harlem Children's Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada and journalist Roxana Saberi are coming to Dayton for the 2010-11 Diversity Lecture Series.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — who's turned to filmmaking and writing books that popularize the contributions of African-Americans to American culture and history — headlines the University of Dayton's 2010-11 Diversity Lecture Series.

"An Evening With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: On the Shoulders of Giants" is slated for 7:30 p.m. March 14, at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center, One West Second St. Abdul-Jabbar's appearance is presented by the University of Dayton and Victoria Theatre Association. Tickets for the general public, which are not on sale yet, will be $15 and $20.

The Ohio premiere of Abdul-Jabbar's documentary, On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of the Greatest Basketball Team You Never Heard Of, will precede his talk at 4 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St. The documentary, still in production, chronicles the Harlem Rens, a local, all-black New York team that became the first basketball world champions in 1939. Tickets for the general public will be $5. Students with a valid college or high school identification card may attend at no cost.

Abdul-Jabbar's visit coincides with the start of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship games at the University of Dayton Arena on March 15. Earlier this month, the University of Dayton was selected to host the inaugural First Four games, which will be nationally televised. 

This year's series, "Voices From the Margins," will feature two other prominent speakers. Journalist Roxana Saberi, who gained international attention last year when she was falsely imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage, kicks off the series at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in the RecPlex on campus. She's written a memoir, Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran.  Her talk, "Courage Under Fire: Matters of Conscience and Faith in Iran," is free and open to the public.

Geoffey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, will address "Waiting for Superman: The Crisis Facing Youth — What Adults and Communities Can Do to Save Our Children" at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the RecPlex on campus. Canada has dedicated his life to helping impoverished, at-risk youth beat the odds. What he has done for a 24-block neighborhood in Harlem has been groundbreaking and replicated in communities across the nation. This fall, a documentary chronicling his passionate work, Waiting for Superman, will premiere nationally. He's the author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching for Manhood and is the subject of a recent best-seller, Whatever It Takes.

The University of Dayton will sponsor a number of other diversity events during the year. "Native Peoples Celebrate the Human Nation 2010," slated for Oct. 14-16 on campus, offers three days of performances, artwork and events showcasing "diversity and unity among Native Peoples," according to Mary Anne Angel, a lecturer in the communications department whose life's work focuses on Native American initiatives. For information, call 937-229-2548.

As part of Human Rights Week, Gabriel Bol Deng, who fled civil war-torn Sudan as a child, will give a free talk at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, in the Kennedy Union Ballroom.

The University of Dayton's Diversity Lecture Series is part of a larger strategic plan to increase inclusion and diversity on campus and prepare students, faculty, staff and the Dayton community for success in a global society. Past speakers have included Andrew Young, Coretta Scott King, Spike Lee, Kirk Franklin, Elie Wiesel, Kevin Powell Reza Aslan, Clarence Page, Nikki Giovanni, Soledad O'Brien, Azar Nafisi, Roland Martin and Johnnetta B. Cole.

The University's commitment to diversity is founded in its Catholic heritage of social justice and the Marianist tradition of equality and being inclusive of people from all segments of society.

The Diversity Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the offices of the president and provost, with the generous support of such community partners as The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ); United Way of the Greater Dayton Area; YWCA Dayton; Victoria Theatre Association; Markey's Rental and Staging; Ross Buick-GMC-Hummer; RTA; NewPage; University of Dayton's Media Production Group; Dayton Daily News; WDTN-TV; WDAO-1210 AM; and 92.1 WROU.

For more information, contact Lynnette Heard, executive director of the office of the president, at 937-229-4122.